Local 'Leapling'  marks her 'second' birthday

Born on Feb. 29 in 2004-- a Leap Year, local resident Natalia Chittester had to wait until Wednesday to mark her official "second" birthday."I think it's kind of neat," Natalia said. "When I'm 8, I can be only 2."Natalia, the daughter of Scott and Dessa Driscoll Chittester of Wetmore Township, brought cookies to school Wednesday to celebrate her birthday with her classmates at the Kane Elementary School. She is a second-grade student in the class taught by teacher Pam Karlene."They all sang 'happy birthday' to me," Natalia said with a wide smile.She said her classmates "didn't think I was 2 until my teacher told them." She said her classmates appeared a little skeptical and asked "are you really 2?"Natalia, the only child in her family, said she feels "special" to be a Leap Year baby because "it doesn't happen to a lot of people."Karlene, who has taught more than 500 children in her 25-year teaching career, said she has had only one other student who was born on Feb. 29.Natalia is the only Leap Year baby in the elementary school in Kane.To mark the occasion, Natalia came to school Wednesday with a children's book called "Leopold's Long-Awaited Leap Year Birthday." She shared the book with her classmates, who learned that Leap Year babies are affectionately called "Leaplings."Natalia is the granddaughter of Bill and Linda Chittester and Dennis and Patricia Driscoll, all of Kane. She is the great-granddaughter of Rheta Tilburg of Kane.The Driscolls are retired Kane school teachers. Dennis taught art and is a well-known local artist. Natalia said she, too, wants to become an artist."I like to draw," she said.Natalia's mother said she knew she was expecting her baby to arrive in a Leap Year-- 2004.See full article by purchasing the March 1 edition of The Kane Republican.